Today I handled the new Sony A7RIV. 61 Megapixel Full Frame.
The new Sony A7R MKIV has been announced this morning and I was here, at the Sony event in NYC. In fact, I am here for the next couple of days to shoot with, test and use the new camera. When I came to NY yesterday I had no idea what Sony had in store. I made some guesses and figured it could be a RX1RIII, maybe an A9R or even a new RX100 VII. All off my guesses were wrong.
The rumor sites started saying it was an A7RIV and my initial thought was “What about the A7SIII”?!?! Wouldn’t Sony release an A7SIII before a MKIV body? I would think so but then after more thought…
I feel Sony is going to make the new A7SIII very special, and I feel they are taking their time with it to just knock it out of the park. Now that they have competition from Nikon and Canon, they have to go strong. So I feel the As7III will be here…sooner rather than later and I also feel an A9R is on the way (Olympics) so I think Sony will be releasing some amazing cameras here really soon in addition to what we saw today.
The new A7R MKIV features an all new sensor and this new sensor comes in at 61 Megapixels. WOW, that is pretty incredible though I am wondering how the low light abilities will be with this many MP crammed into a full frame sensor. I was not able to test this…yet.
I handled the camera today, and it feels MUCH nicer in the hand than the previous versions, even the A9. This is because Sony made the grip beefier and somehow LONGER without making the camera taller. How did they do this? Upon inspection is seems they changed the slope of the top of the camera to achieve a little more finger room for you when holding the camera. The result is my pinky no longer slips off the base when shooting. Much more comfy.
Animal EYE AF of the A7RIV. Photo courtesy of Sony.
The EVF is also amazing and at 5.76 MP it has crazy good resolution and it is sharp, crisp and up there with the best there is. No one can complain about EVF’s these days, they are remarkable and the one here in the 7RMKIV is as good as it gets in 2019.
Cannot tell a thing from this JPEG photo but it was shot with the MKIV and the 24-105 lens. Had 50 others around me waiting to hold the camera and I took three shots and some video. I will have MANY samples and even a side by side between this can the X1D2 in the next couple of days…
The AF speed is fantastic from what I have seen so far, and now we have real time eye AF and EVEN FOR VIDEO. This is so nice to have. Animal Eye AF is here as well. Sony’s AF is at the top of the heap, and I feel they are tied with Canon who uses dual pixel AF. To me it seems that Sony may have a slight edge these days over something like the Canon EOS-R when it comes to AF. It just works.
No 10 Bit video here in the MKIV but Sony claims 15 stops of DR for photos and 14 for video. With this much DR, do we really need 10 Bit? I know I don’t though I am sure some of you want it.
As for the image quality? The prints I saw were astonishing in regards to detail and color performance. I look forward to shooting this camera today and tomorrow to see just how I enjoy having 61 MP on tap ; ) Seeing that I also have the X1DII here with me..maybe a side by side?
Anyway I will have a first look hands on report in the next day or two and most likely a video as well. Priced at $3499 the A7RIV is a power packed feature rich high megapixel camera that delivers on speed, IQ and usability. Enhanced dials and function as well.
Sony also announced a new ECM-B1M all digital mic that looked CRAZY strange but it’s one accessory I will buy in a nanosecond if I buy the RIV. No more analog audio. Pure digital path, rejecting wind and noise and just snaps on the shoe for high quality audio.
Anyway, these are just some random thoughts after handling the camera for a few minutes. I will have much more soon so check back over the next couple of days!
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE:
Sony Electronics Introduces High-resolution Alpha 7R IV Camera with World’s First 61.0 MP Back-illuminated, Full-frame Image Sensor
Unprecedented Highest Resolution and Widest Dynamic Range for α – Alpha System, Combined with High-speed Performance and a Lightweight, Compact Body
World’s first 35mm full-frame 61.0 MP back-illuminated Exmor R™ CMOS image sensor with latest-generation BIONZ X™ image processor
15-stop dynamic range at low sensitivities, resulting in smooth, natural gradations ranging from deep shadows to highlights
High-speed continuous shooting at up to 10 fps with full AF / AE tracking for approximately seven seconds [v] in full-frame mode with an increased buffer memory, and approximately three times as long in APS-C mode
567 focal-plane phase-detection AF points covering 74% of image area and 425 contrast AF points
Debut of Real-time Eye AF for movie recording and advanced Real-time Tracking plus Real-time Eye AF for still image recording
Features an APS-C crop mode delivering stunning high resolution images of 26.2MPii
5.76 million dot UXGA (Ultra-XGA) OLED Tru-Finder™ electronic viewfinder with outstanding detail, brightness and contrast
Upgraded connectivity and operability including high-speed Wi-Fi support, wireless PC remote connectivity, FTP wireless transfer, faster data transfer via USB and more
Professional 4K movie recording functionality including full pixel readout with no pixel binning in Super 35mm mode, S-Log3, HDR workflow support
Multi Interface Shoe™ with digital audio interface delivers the high-quality sound recording with Sony’s new microphone and XLR microphone adaptor
Additional enhancements to the body design include an improved grip and button layout for improved control with compact, lightweight body
NEW YORK — July 16, 2019 — Sony Electronics Inc. today announced the latest addition to its acclaimed Alpha 7R series full-frame mirrorless camera line-up: the extremely versatile, powerful Alpha 7R IV (model ILCE-7RM4).
Sony’s highest resolution full-frame camera ever, the new Alpha 7R IV delivers stunning image quality with high resolution and wide dynamic range while maintaining outstanding focusing performance, high-speed continuous shooting and much, much more.
“We are continuing to drive innovation, break boundaries and redefine the expectations of digital camera performance,” said Neal Manowitz, deputy president of Imaging Product and Solutions Americas at Sony Electronics. “The new Alpha 7R IV combines medium format-level image quality with high-speed shooting, extremely fast focusing and an extensive list of upgrades to design, connectivity and usability. This will allow professional photographers, videographers and all other types of creators to capture content in ways that were simply not possible before.”
A New Level of Image Quality
The new Alpha 7R IV features a newly developed 35mm full-frame, back-illuminated CMOS image sensor with a resolution of 61.0 MPii, the world’s firsti of its kind. The new sensor’s back-illuminated structure and effective noise reduction techniques combine to deliver extremely low-noise and high-sensitivity performance, ensuring the absolute maximum image quality. The camera also boasts an impressive 15-stopiii dynamic range at low sensitivities, resulting in smooth natural gradations ranging from deep shadows to highlights, and utilizes algorithms from many of the latest Alpha cameras to maintain outstanding color reproduction.
This new full-frame model is equipped with an innovative 5-axis, optical in-body image stabilization system that has been fine-tuned to support its high-resolution shooting capacity, resulting in a shutter speed advantage of 5.5-steps[x]. Additionally, the shutter unit assembly has been carefully redesigned to reduce even the slightest movement that may cause blur.
The Alpha 7R IV also includes Sony’s highest resolution viewfinder ever, a 5.76 million dot UXGA OLED Tru-finder EVF. About 1.6x the resolution of the EVF in the Alpha 7R III, this new viewfinder provides an extremely accurate, true-to-life depiction of the scene being framed. The display quality can be set to ‘Standard’ or ‘High’ mode, and to either 60 fps or 120 fps refresh rate to best match the subject and shooting conditions.
Additionally, the new camera features an evolved Pixel Shift Multi Shooting[xi] mode that composites up to 16 full-resolution images. In this mode, the camera precisely shifts the sensor in one pixel or half-pixel increments to capture 16 separate pixel-shifted images containing a total of 963.2 million pixels of data, which are then composited into a 240.8 million pixel (19008 x 12672 pixels) image using Sony’s “Imaging Edge™” desktopapplication[xii]. Ideal for photographing architecture, art or any other still life subject, this enhanced mode produces photographs with a level of detail and color accuracy that is simply stunning.
Shooting and Focusing Speed
The innovative new Alpha 7R IV full-frame mirrorless camera can shoot full resolution images at up to 10 fpsivwith continuous, accurate AF/AE tracking for up to approximately seven secondsv in full-frame, full-resolution mode (JPEG / RAW), and approx. three times as long in APS-C crop mode delivering 26.2MPii images. These high-speed options ensure that fast moving subjects can be captured with extreme accuracy and incredible image detail.
The upgraded focusing system of the Alpha 7R IV is comprised of 567 focal-plane phase-detection AF points that cover approximately 74 percent of the image area. There are also 425 contrast AF points that add extra precision and reliability for low light and other situations that are best served by contrast AF. The higher AF sensor density and refined tracking algorithms of the new camera produce a notable improvement in tracking performance, allowing complex subject motion and sudden subject movements to be reliably tracked with greater precision than ever.
The Alpha 7R IV also supports Real-time Eye AF, which employs artificial intelligence to detect and process eye location data in real-time, locking and maintaining focus on the subject’s eye with extreme precision. This is available for both animal and human subjects, with either animal or human Eye AF mode selectable depending on the shooting situation. Real-time Trackingvii is available as well, which utilizes a newly developed subject recognition algorithm to ensure the ultimate subject tracking and persistence of the focusing system. There is also an anti-flicker shooting[xiii] mode, which automatically detects the presence of fluorescent or artificial lighting in a shooting environment to minimize any impact on the final image.
Enhanced Connectivity for Professional Workflow
Sony’s new Alpha 7R IV full-frame camera is equipped with a variety of advanced connectivity features designed to enhance professional workflow. The new model includes wireless LAN functionality to support the conventional 2.4 GHz band, as well as a high-speed 5 GHz[xiv] band for faster, more stable data transfer. Wireless PC remote connectivity (wireless tethering shooting)viii is also available on the new Alpha 7R IV, a first for Sony cameras. Requested by many working professionals, this allows for much more freedom in studio and location shoots, letting the photographer move around freely and without restriction.
In addition to high-speed Wi-Fi® and wireless PC connectivityviii, the new full-frame camera is equipped with a SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.2 Gen 1) USB Type-C™ connector that supports extremely fast wired data transmission, with almost doubled data transfer speed achieved in combination with Sony’s Imaging Edge software (compared to the Alpha 7R III). It also supports FTP data transfer with background transfer capability, allowing photographers to send images to a specified FTP remote server while they are still shooting or reviewing images.
To support an efficient, high-speed, connected professional workflow, Sony has announced version 2.0 of its “Imaging Edge” desktop applications (‘Remote’/’Viewer’/’Edit’)xiii. The ’Remote’ application allows users to control cameras and monitor live shooting on their PC screen; the ‘Viewer‘ application is used to quickly preview, rate and select photos from large libraries; and the ’Edit‘ application can develop RAW data into high-quality photos for delivery.
To maximize convenience in image transfer, when utilizing the latest version of Sony’s Imaging Edge Mobile™ application[xv], the camera can now transfer images to a connected smartphone even if the camera’s power is set to OFF[xvi].
High-resolution 4K and Professional Filmmaking Features
In addition to its impressive still image capabilities, the new Alpha 7R IV performs exceptionally well as a serious filmmaking tool, offering 4K (3840×2160 pixels) video recording across the full width of the image sensor, and full pixel readout without pixel binning in Super 35mm modeix. This ensures high-quality 4K footage with exceptional detail and depth. S-Log 2 and S-Log 3 are also available to maximize color grading flexibility, with S-Log 3 offering a total of 14-stops of dynamic range. Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG)[xvii] is also available on the Alpha 7R IV to support an Instant HDR workflow.
For video autofocus, the versatile new full-frame camera utilizes a refined Fast Hybrid AF system that achieves faster, smoother, more stable autofocus during video shooting – even if an object temporarily moves in front of the intended subject. The camera also includes Touch Tracking functionality during movie shooting, allowing the user to simply touch the screen on their intended subject for instant acquisition.
The new Alpha 7R IV debuts Real-time Eye AF for movie shooting, a first in any of Sony’s cameras. When activated, the eye of a subject is automatically tracked with high precision and reliability, allowing the shooter to focus on the content itself as opposed to what is in focus or not. The aforementioned Touch Tracking functionality will also automatically initiate Eye AF when a human subject is selected.
Another notable video feature is the addition of a digital audio interface to the camera’s Multi Interface Shoe™ (MI Shoe), allowing a direct, digital connection from the new ECM-B1M Shotgun Microphone or XLR-K3M XLR Adaptor Kit for clear, low-noise and high-quality audio recording. Interval shooting for creating time-lapse videos is available, as well as full HD recording at up to 120 fps, Slow and Quick Motion[xviii] functions and much more.
Enhanced Build, Design and Customizability
The new Alpha 7R IV has several upgrades to its design and usability, with many adjustments being implemented directly from the voice of Sony’s professional community.
To maximize durability, the new Alpha 7R IV features upgraded dust and moisture resistance[xix], with additional sealing provided at all body seams, battery compartment cover and media slots. The camera is built with an extremely lightweight and durable magnesium alloy and also has an upgraded six screw, extra-firm lens mount.
Additional enhancements to the body design include an improved grip for greater comfort and a more sure hold within the hand; an increase in the diameter and feedback for the ‘AF-ON’ button; a new multi-selector joystick design for improvised control; an exposure compensation dial lock button; and a redesigned shape and new position for the rear dial. A strong request from many professional users, the new camera also includes two UHS-II compatible media slots, allowing for higher overall capacity and faster read/write speeds.
For added convenience, camera setting registration is expanded. Now, almost all camera settings can be saved to, and read from, an inserted memory card. Up to 10 combinations can be saved to any individual cardand loaded into any camera body of the same model.
Despite its increased pixel count compared to the Alpha 7R III, the battery life has been improved with a CIPA measurement of up to 670 still images per change using LCD monitor, or 530 images with EVF. For even more uninterrupted operating time, the new optional VG-C4EM Vertical Grip holds two NP-FZ100 batteries, and the optional Multi Battery Adaptor (NPA-MQZ1K) can hold up to four Z batteries. The body can also be powered via the USB connector[xx].
IMAGE SAMPLES – CROP UNDER EACH PHOTO